Time For a Bedtime Story by Naomi

When your child reaches middle primary school and is reading confidently on their own, it's easy to think that the time for bedtime stories is over.  It's great for children to choose their own reading and to read themselves, but reading with them and to them is still valuable and important.

As well as providing a lovely, quiet, intimate time with your child, a bedtime story can provide lots of opportunities.  You can read slightly more challenging books, classics that may have language that would put a child off reading the book to themselves even though they will enjoy the story.  The Yorkshire accent in Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, for example, looks difficult on the page, but comes to life when read aloud.
"And even if the worst does happen and you do get turned into a mouse, life is still good."

Some books for this age group raise issues and talking about those issues as you read the book together works a lot better than trying to discuss them at a different time.  Roald Dahl's The Witches brings up fears and how being prepared and informed makes them easier to overcome.  And even if the worst does happen and you do get turned into a mouse, life is still good.  Anh Do's WeirDo series uses humour to lighten issues about being different and creates a great starting point for discussion as well.

"There is nothing wrong with reading a book just because it's fun"
Even picture books can be read and understood on a different level.  Imagery that was taken literally by a four year old can now be understood metaphorically, especially when the book is quite familiar.  The metaphor and symbolism of classic fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen or The Brothers Grimm become clearer as a child gets older.  And there is nothing wrong with reading a book just because it's fun.

Books that inspire imagination and creativity can be taken to any level.  Rebecca Cobb's The Something is a great starting point for imagining a whole world hidden beneath the garden, and Anthony Browne's Willy's Stories uses subtle references to classic stories to inspire the exploration of those tales or the creation of your own new ones.

Don't give up bedtime stories just because your child can read to themselves - they are just too good for both you and your child to miss!

By Naomi

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Looking for a reason to read The Great Gatsby? Let Naomi let F. Scott tell you why.....

It's all about first impressions.

If personality is a series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.

With all of the hype surrounding the release of Baz Lurhman's film of The Great Gatsby you might feel like there's no need to read the book, but there are many good reasons why it has been called the greatest American novel.

And grandiosity.

The lawn started at the beach and ran towards the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sundials and brick walks and burning gardens - finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of it's run.

The main reason to read,or even re-read The Great Gatsby before you see the film is Fitzgerald's beautiful prose, which cannot be transcribed to film.  

Inscrutable beauty.

He smiled understandingly - much more than understandingly.  It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four of five times in life.  It faced - or seemed to face - the whole world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour.  It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

Unlike anything else on my shelves, I read The Great Gatsby over and over.  The impulse to pick it up is governed by the knowledge that I will wholeheartedly enjoy it and I'm reminded of what a beautiful and romantic book it is.


There was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget:  a singing compulsion, a whispered "Listen", a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.
And smouldering ambition.

This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke, and finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.

Here's a few of my favourite examples, chosen from so many fabulous passages so as not to give away any of the plot. Resist if you can.